Two things that have proven a little difficult for the life, health and financial planing industries to wrap its collective head around is a) how to make their products and services appeal to the under-40 crowd, and b) how to make the best use of things like social media and new media, such as videos, podcasts and the like.
For many, the answer is to simply ignore this challenge and focus on markets and clients they already know how to interact with. To some degree, this is understandable. As i understand it, the average age of a L/H insurance agent is 55 and getting older. As the Baby Boom enters retirement age itself, there is a fairly compelling reason for a lot of veteran agents and advisors out there to simply stick with what they know for the rest of their career. After all, things can’t change so quickly that one’s business model will be obsolete within the next 10 years, right?
Wrong. At least, that’s what anybody (myself included) who is even a little bit interested in new media and social media will tell you. Using National Underwriter Life and Health as an example, I can tell you that we have an unending stream of invites to join our LinkedIn group, and we get a fair bit of traction on FaceBook, Twitter and discussions generated by our own online fora. And this is despite the fact that none of us on NUL really pay as much attention to these things as we really ought to. (And let me be clear: I am the worst offender in this regard.)
But while everybody figures out how to make the best use of their social media profile (whether individually or as a company), one component not to overlook is online video. Increasingly, video links are becoming choice content as social media posts themselves, just as YouTube channels are bona fide media outlets in their own right. On this front, it pays to be a little less proprietary, as cross-linking and cross-subscribing can yield a whole lot of additional traffic. Succeeding at YouTube appears to be a game of being willing to be generous with your own content so that you can receive it back in kind. For close-knit communities bound by a common interest (firearms enthusiasts are an interesting example), one’s personal channel can become a fairly well-established presence in not a whole lot of time and without a whole lot of resources. It makes me wonder what an industry as well-resourced as the insurance industry can accomplish.